CV Writing

A CV, along side a cover letter, is a marketing document. It’s purpose is to be tailored to the employer & position you are applying for, highlighting the skills & experience that make you a suitable applicant.



[Email Address] | [Phone Number]




[Degree Name]

  • [Any necessary relevant information]



[Pre-university course, e.g. CIE A-Levels]

  • [Any necessary relevant information]




[Type of experience, e.g. internship/job attachment/shadowing]

  • [Any necessary relevant information]


[Company 2, if necessary]

[Type of experience, e.g. internship/job attachment/shadowing

  • [Any necessary relevant information]




[Position within society/organisation/team]

  • [Any relevant information related to experience, insights & knowledge gained]

[Societies/Organisations/Teams 2]

[Position within society/organisation/team]

  • [Any relevant information related to experience, insights & knowledge gained]



[City], UK

[Period, e.g. Sept 2016 – Present]

[City, Country]


[City, Country]


[City, Country]


[City, Country]


[City, Country]


For template, please click:

What do I write in each section of my CV?


Personal Details

A heading ‘Curriculum Vitae’ is not required for this section however it is important that you include your name & contact details (address, phone number & email).

You do not need to include personal information about yourself such as your age, date of birth, marital status, religion, nationality.


Career Profile / Career Objective

The advantage of these is that they give the employer a focus as they read your CV, especially if the statement is tailored to the position you are applying for. Make sure you give evidence to support any claims which you make about yourself and avoid simply making general, descriptive statements about your skills & qualities. This may be something more appropriate for the cove letter.



Start with your present education and work backwards. Your degree is the most significant part of your education, so devote the most space to this and less to earlier education (i.e. A-level or GCSE results). You do not need to list all your main degree modules, but you should try and include any which you feel are relevant and which would be useful to the job for which you are applying. If you have performed well academically it is important you include your results in this section.


Relevant Work Experience & Other Employment

This section could include details of any full- time or part-time work, placements, internships, or casual work. Include your duties, responsibilities and achievements.


Professional Skills

This section is for you to demonstrate your level of competency with ICT (e.g. Microsoft office), languages & technical skills associated with your industry (e.g. computer programmes, legal research programmes).


Achievements & Awards

Your academic achievements and contributions to work & volunteering should be highlighted throughout your CV. In the section you may want to include other achievements/awards that are not related to work/volunteering or study (e.g. a recent music or sport related award).


Extracurricular Involvement / Voluntary Work

This section is important as it presents another angle on the kind of person you are through the activities you choose to get involved in. You can use examples like membership of societies, groups, teams (inside and outside of university), committee experience, or being a student/course representative.



This section is optional on your CV however if you have a bit of room left you may want to include it. Most people enjoy spending time with family and friends, listening to music, reading and going to the movies so try and be a little more original in your interests and use different examples. Sometimes these are used to ‘break the ice’ at interview. What makes you a little unique to your peers?



It is quite popular to write ‘Available on request’ however it is not popular for your references to be unprepared. Always have two people prepared to give you a reference prior to sending out any applications. It is common to have a reference from work & university.


A few tips on Formatting

  • Your CV should be 2 pages in length

  • Use plain font (e.g. Arial)

  • Check spelling & grammar

  • Your font should be no smaller than 11pts

  • Keep dates, bullet points all in the same place. Use the same bullet points throughout

  • Avoid colour, borders, anything that you feel ‘dresses-up’ your CV, it does not add any value to your application and may even frustrate recruiters.

  • Use bullet points to market your responsibilities and achievements more concisely.

  • Use bold to highlight headings / significant achievements but do it sparingly.



When should I use/not use a CV?

You should you a CV when;

  • It has been requested by the employer

  • You are applying speculatively

  • When you are attending networking events where you may meet a potential recruiter You should not use a CV when;

  • You have been asked to fill out an online application, unless the employer asks for it to be attached.


What style of CV should I use for my industry?

  • Law: Chronological CV, including Legal experience as part of the relevant work experience section.

  • IT: Chronological, highlighting your technical skills. Under Professional Skills, have an IT skills profile

  • Engineering: Chronological CV

  • Journalism: Chronological CV, but include any published articles if applying for newspaper journalism.

  • Business, Finance & Banking: Chronological CV

  • Academia: Chronological CV, but include de- tails of publications & conferences you have either presented at or had work on display.


Do recruiters use electronic methods for screening CV’s?

Yes. It is becoming increasingly common to submit your CV in electronic format. In some cases initial sifting will be done electronically. This means that you must ensure that your CV contains key words that will be picked up by the system. These will be linked to the requirements of the job and will be positive, action orientated words indicating skills and achievements.


How should I email my CV?

Send it as an attachment, and always include a cover letter as well. Either write a brief formal email to the employer, sending the CV and cover letter as attachments. When emailing employers, use the same formal language as you would use in a cover letter.


Should I put my CV on the internet?

However, think carefully as well about whether you are likely to reach your target employers. If you are applying for an IT based job where web skills will be valued, it is worth creating your own website which can work as an additional CV, promoting the work you have done. In this case, the structure will be very different from a paper based CV- be creative but business like. You can also post your CV on a range of open Job search websites.

Before doing this, consider if you would like your CV to be public to lots of people. Also check if your CV can be updated easily and at no cost, if it is listed in a database and how long your CV is likely to be in the databank. If you do decide to put your CV on the Internet, take out the con- tact details of your references.


This guide is courtesy of City University London's Careers, Student Development and Outreach department. The original article can be found at



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